Sunday, June 17, 2012

Cedric the Snooze

"Cedric the Snooze"

Cedric the Snooze
drank too much booze,
so on pillows he drifted,
till his spirits were lifted.

That was another sketchbook doodle I've completed recently, accompanied by an impromptu poem.

Happy Sunday!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sketchbook Doodles

Thought I'd post some pages from my mini sketchbook tonight.
These are just some casual, spontaneous pen drawings=)

Some odd snake things. I don't even know...

Friday, June 8, 2012

Ptasie Mleczko / Птичье Молоко - Cake

On Wednesday I made cake! It was for my dad's birthday and it was a "bird's milk" cake - a cake inspired by a Slavic souffle/marshmallow type chocolate covered treat.
I referenced this lovely recipe, making some adjustments to it to create my cake. Yes, it was a meticulous process, but it was also very fun (for me anyway) and I was pretty happy with the results, as were the people who got to enjoy this cake=). I think in the future I'll keep working on this recipe, playing around with different flavor combinations. And I also hope some one else will give this recipe a spin and enjoy it!

Ptasie Mleczko / Птичье Молоко / “Bird Milk” Cake

  • 4 eggs
  • 150 g sugar
  • 150 g flour
  • 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons of (cooled) coffee
  • 2 dark chocolate squares - zested
  • 9 eggs
  • 300 g sugar 1 ¼ cup
  • 150 g butter or margarine (melted)
  • 200 ml milk (3/4 cup)
  • 21 g gelatin (3 small packets of Knoxx gelatin)
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Some hazel nuts
  • 250 g of dark chocolate

* Some quick notes: When I say heat-proof bowls, I recommend using glass or metal bowls, not plastic ones. I also recommend using a mixer for the majority of this recipe in order to ensure smooth even textures. 

(Prep + Sponge)
1.       Dissolve the gelatin with 150 ml of drinking water and let it sit for an hour. (Dissolve it in a heat proof dish)
2.       Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking pan (about 7-9 inches in diameter, 3-4 inches deep) with parchment paper and grease well with some butter or margarine.
3.       For the sponge cake – beat the eggs together with sugar.
4.       Add the flour, cocoa powder, zested chocolate, and coffee, and mix well.
5.       Pour the cake batter and bake for about 25-30 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean – the cake is done!

6.       Separate the egg yolks and whites (into separate bowls) of all 9 eggs.
7.       Beat the egg yolks with 150 g of sugar in a heat proof bowl.
8.       Add milk and mix together.
9.       Add flour and mix well.
10.   Heat the mixture by putting your heat-proof bowl on top of a pot of boiling water. Heat and periodically mix until the mixture thickens, becoming dense and creamy. Take the bowl off the boiler and let it cool for a few minutes (5-10 minutes). (Also, don’t worry if it’s sort of lumpy. Those lumps can get smoothed out later.)  
11.   Add melted butter or margarine to this cooled mixture and mix well with the mixer. Add the vanilla extract and give everything another good mix.
12.   Heat the gelatine mixture until it’s completely melted and no longer grainy. Set aside to cool for a bit.
13.   Take your egg whites and with a pinch of salt, whip them up until they’re slightly frothy.
14.   Add the remaining 150g or sugar and whip the mixture until it is big, white, and puffy.
15.   Add the liquefied gelatin and mix well together.
16.   Add the egg white mixture to the egg yolk mixture and mix the two thoroughly together. Put the soufflé in the refrigerator, until you’re done completing the next step.
17.   Take your cooled sponge cake and dissect it horizontally into two layers. Put one half back in the parchment lined pan.
18.   Now we’re going to make our layers. The way I did it was to pour all of the soufflé mixture over the first layer of the sponge cake, and then top it with the second layer of cake – like a sandwich. You could also pour half of the soufflé mixture over the first cake layer, add the second layer, and pour the remaining soufflé on top of that. It’s up to you!
19.   Leave the cake in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours to set.

20.   After the cake is set, take it out of the pan and transfer it to a large enough plate.
21.   Melt about 250g of chocolate and carefully pour or brush it over the cake.
22.   Crush and zest some hazelnuts to use as a nice decoration. Or feel free to use any other kinds of nuts you like, or even chop up some dried fruit, or whatever you like as your finishing touch.
23.   Put the cake back in the fridge for a few more hours, until the chocolate sets.